Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easy Homemade Pita Bread

This week Elizabeth has been experimenting with making Pita bread.  She has adapted a recipe from

So, here is a little tutorial that I would like to share:

What you need:
Mixing bowl
Rolling Pin (Yes, you'll be using it for something other than chasing the rest of the family out of the kitchen while you are working)
Baking sheet
1 C warm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 to 3 C flour (we used all whole wheat flour)
1-2 tsp. olive oil (if desired)

Mix water rand yeast together, and let sit for about 5 minutes, until yeast is dissolved.  At 2 Cups of flour, salt, and olive oil (if using... Elizabeth said in this last batch she didn't even put it in). Stir.  The dough will be "shaggy".

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or so, until it is smooth an elastic.  Add more flour, as needed, A LITTLE BIT at a time.  This is important when making yeast doughs because when you add too much flour, it makes the dough very heavy, and harder for the yeast to do its job. Remember, it is better to use to little flour than too much.

Return the dough to the bowl, and let it rise for a couple hours, covered, or until it is doubled in bulk.  (Now you can go back to home schooling, cleaning, doing laundry, or, like some people I know *ahem* who just go and sew while waiting.)

(You can refrigerate the dough at this point until the dough is needed.  You can also do one or two pitas at a time and keep the dough in the fridge for several days.  If you have a big family, feel free to laugh that suggestion to scorn, because you know as well as I do, doing "one or two" pitas is a joke in a family our size.)

Gently punch down the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 8 parts (or 24, if you tripled the batch like we always have to do, really, I don't even remember what it is like to make a single batch of ANYTHING anymore!) and flatten each piece out into little discs by hand.  Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour, then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap until they are ready to be rolled and baked.

To shape the pitas, use a floured rolling pin, and roll each of the discs into a 8-9 inch circle, about a quarter inch thick.  Lift and turn frequently to prevent sticking to the counter. If it seems to be sticking, sprinkle A LITTLE more flour on the counter.

To bake the pitas in the oven, heat the oven to 450.  Yes, that's right.  You want it wicked HOT!  If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat.  If you don't (we don't.  I don't know why.  We make our own pizzas and whatnot all the time, so you'd think I'd get one, but I never think of it until I read a recipe like this and I slap myself in the forehead and have all the intentions in the world of putting it on a list but always forget before I get to it because of constant distractions... oh, look!  something shiny!.....)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, 450 degree oven, stone in the oven if you have it (don't worry, I won't go into all that again), place a large baking sheet on the rack to heat.

Yeah, the baking sheet... nothing on it.  The sheet has to be wicked HOT too.  :)

Place the rolled out pitas directly on the baking sheets (as many as will fit reasonably) and bake for about 3 minutes.  ( I know ... all that kneading, raising and rolling out for a mere three minutes???? Seriously?? It's like cooking for Thanksgiving... 3 days of preparation, and a half hour for the locusts to scarf it all down. But I've digressed again.  This is what happens when I blog at night!)

Oh, Elizabeth says to carry the pita by hand and flip it onto the baking sheet.

The pita should start to puff up after a minute or two, and is done when it is fully ballooned.  Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking remaining pitas.

Note... while the pitas are cooling, they will "deflate" but the pocket formed by the ballooning will still be there.

Pitas are best when eaten immediately but can be stored in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are warmed in a toaster oven.  Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between each one for up to three months.

 This has nothing to do with making pita bread, but I spent and hour one evening doing this to her hair.  She loves it. It started with me trying to play with her hair, making a regular braid.  I offered to make two braids and she just "Harumphed" at me.  I said, " How about Twenty?" never dreaming she'd take me up on it.  Well, she said "Sure!" and this was the result.  (FYI... I only did 18 braids.  I owe her two more, I guess!)

I'm very glad to report that after a couple of days of torrential rains and 50 degree weather, winter has come back today.  A couple of inches of snow, and cold temperatures.... ahhhhhhh, does it get any better than this?

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yarn Along

I'm making very slow progress on the socks I posted last week.  Sometimes you just kind of go through a "blah" stage, KWIM?  I've been concentrating on Isaac's quilt.  I had an inspiration for piecing the back, and so I've been working on that.  You'll get to see that when it is finished.  :P

The new yarn for Dale's sweater arrived, and I wound it yesterday while listening to Jerusha's Lit reading.  She likes to read out loud to me, though she is perfectly capable of reading to herself and does so 99% of the time with the other books her nose is constantly in.  (Oooh, dear, I ended that sentence with a preposition, didn't I? You know, there is controversy over that, despite the what the Grammar police say... there are times when it is acceptable, and Winston Churchill was known to do it on purpose just to prove a point... but that is another post for another time, and WAY off topic here!)

So, my goal is to have a finished sweater to show for the next Yarn Along, and maybe the book featured here will finally be done! Wow.. a different knitting project, and a different book!  Will wonders never cease?

It is raining cats and dogs here, and we have a flood watch out.  Too bad it isn't cold enough for snow. We'd be getting a TON of it right now.  Thankfully, the weather is changing back into Winter tomorrow, and it seems we may get enough snow to go sledding with the Teen group on Saturday after all.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Jerusha!

I know, I know... her birthday was last Wednesday, but we had her party last night.  I say "party", meaning just us chickens.  :)

Let me assure you, there were WAY more balloons that what is pictured here.  I had the little ones playing games with them for a while and burning off some energy, then they settled down to watch a tape.  That is when I put up the decorations and made supper.  Dale was off getting the older kids from camp.

In case you haven't guessed, Jerusha's favorite color is PINK!

Tell me what is wrong with this picture.  :/

This is the Chicken mixture for making the chicken nachos from the above pictured cookbook. Yup dinner from "The Biggest Loser Cookbook", and then cheesecake for dessert????  Jerusha also chose to have cheese curls (wish you were here Grandma!) and root beer, and applesauce.

Even though it was cheesecake, I still put a candle on it.  :D

The problem with having no cover charge for these things, is that all manner of riffraff can get in.

Present opening time!

I bought this Fancy Nancy flannel a while back, before Christmas.  I will be making her a nightgown with it.

What Princess doesn't like a pretty dress!  You'll notice it has short sleeves. Even so, she begged me to wear it to church today.  I told her she could, but had to wear a nice sweater, which she was glad to do.  She told me her favorite thing about the dress was the puff sleeves.  Time for her to watch Anne of Green Gables!

A new pencil bag!

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!

You can't tell from this pic, but that is a very shiny and colorful headband from Esther.

Elizabeth made her this beaded bracelet. :)

We had a very nice Sunday with the usual schedule.  However, it is much warmer than it has been, and the sun was out, so Elizabeth and I decided to go for a Sunday stroll.

Esther asked, while observing my preparations for departure, "Mom, is a 'Sunday Stroll', supposed to involve you wearing your hiking boots????"

The side of the roads are still slushy, so Elizabeth and I decided to go up what we call the "Hill Climb" and enjoy the view for a few minutes.  Then we just wandered about for a while.  After we got back, I curled up with a book, and read a couple chapters before falling asleep.  Next thing I knew Dale was waking me up to get ready for leaving for choir practice!  Funny how that happens?  Really, I was just going to lay down for a few minutes then put the binding on the two quilts I finished quilting over the weekend.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow after school!

Hope you have had a wonderful Lord's Day!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fun Days!

Most of the Homeschooling moms I know are shutterbugs.  I think that is wonderful!  It is fun to have pics of all the great times that can happen, either planned, or spontaneously.  I had one such friend ask me, shortly after the school term started in the fall, if I found myself becoming more of a shutterbug.  Taking pics and putting some for "Field Trips" and different activities in the Portfolio seemed like a good idea.  It still does.

Too bad I hardly ever remember my camera!

I am TERRIBLE at remember my camera, or if I have it, remembering to use it!  Maybe I just get caught up in the moment, or maybe I'm just an airhead, but either way, I almost always forget to snap a pic!  I am not much of photographer either, so the pics that I DO remember to take aren't very good.

Oh well!

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to take more pics of our children's activities.

That being said, here are some pictures of what we have been up to lately!

This is a snowflake that Josiah and Caleb made during a Lego Club Class.  It is a freebie online class through CurrClick.  LOVE those freebies!

Caleb and Jerusha just started a 6 week classes about Turtles, Tortoises, and Terrapins.  It is a lap book study.  Of course, I TOTALLY forgot to take pics this week!

You know you are a home schooler when this sort of thing greets you in the morning when you just wake up for your first cuppa.  Elizabeth was doing an experiment on osmosis with an egg and vinegar.  She soaked it over night in a cup of vinegar, and it ate away the shell and left this really weird feeling egg "thing".

Then she soaked it in plain water, (I think.... or was it Karo?  I don't remember now) and it shrunk to approximately one-fourth of the size it was with the vinegar.

Jerusha's birthday was Wednesday, but we are celebrating tomorrow evening.  She wanted a cheese cake for her birthday cake (yeah, she takes after her mother), and she wanted to help make it.  I can't believe she is 8 already!

This evening we dropped Benjamin, Esther, Elizabeth, and Josiah off at an overnight "Winter Blast" at Pennwood Bible Camp.  It is C O L D!!!!  I am sure they will have a wonderful time, however.  I thought about sending the camera with Elizabeth, but I didn't want her to be worrying about losing or damaging it.  So I had to be satisfied with what little I could do before we left.

(This was the "Josiah, smile, for crying out loud!" picture)

As a treat we went to a local pizza place for dinner on the way home.  Caleb and Jerusha are in a reading program.  If they complete a certain amount of books then they get a coupon each month for a free personal pizza and small soda.

Isaac and Daddy and myself (don't tell Elizabeth!  She'll make me do extra circuit training next week!) got this "Big Daddy" pizza that was on special.  There were plenty leftovers to take home even though Caleb and Jerusha both had some after they finished their personal sized pizzas.

There are plenty of pictures that aren't here, or anywhere, simply because I never took them.  We've been hiking and sledding, both of which I never take a camera with me because of the obvious high probability of the camera being lost or damaged.  The girls, in the very cold weather we have been having, haven't been doing much in the way of crafting.  Mostly we are snuggled up here and there around the house with books and keeping warm.  Elizabeth and I have done some indoor exercising to tapes and DVD's.  Honestly, as soon as we hit a good 20 degrees we are going back out for hikes.  I much prefer my exercise to be outside for some reason.

It is strange being home with just the littles tonight.  And Dale too, of course.  Still, the house almost feels empty with the four olders off for the evening.  We pick them up around 3:30 tomorrow afternoon, come home, then do Jerusha's birthday around supper time.

Have a blessed evening, and stay warm!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sometimes You Need a Plan B, or a Plan C, or a Plan D, etc

I started a sweater for Dale a while back.  I intended on making it for him for Christmas.  Welllll, I didn't get it done in time, but had some "backup presents".  I told him what I was working on, and that I would get it done as soon as possible. At least now I could work on it in front of him, instead of trying to find time to work on it  on the sly.  That is NOT easy to do with him home so much now!

Well, I almost finished it.  I was seaming the first side seam, and I ran out of the main color.  I mean, totally, utterly, there-ain't-no-more-ma'am ran out.  I dug through my stash, and if you can believe it, I didn't have any more. Nor did I have anything that would be dark enough for the seaming.  I also needed a bit for the placket and collar.  Well, pfffft.  I ordered it through KnitPicks, and thankfully, it was still a color they had.

Meanwhile, I went back to my Oaklet Scarf.  That is one of those projects that I like to work on when visiting, or travelling.  It is small enough so it is easy to take along with whenever we go anywhere.

Sunday we had our Fellowship dinner, and in between finishing cleaning up and when the afternoon service started, I had a few minutes before going up to the piano.  Everyone was milling about chatting, so I got out the scarf to work on.  I went to take my first stitch, and realize, much to my dismay one of the needles broke!  I was using circulars (interchangeable) and it broke at a strange angle, starting close to the metal part that screws onto the cable.  Ugh!

Dale has been trying to fix it.  I had another needle that splintered (I favor wooden needles, but seriously thinking about changing that now!) and he was able to glue it back together.  It works perfectly, and you would never know.  But that was a splinter, not a clean break.  So, he has been trying to fix it.  I suspect that it won't "seat" properly, and thus the yarn won't slip over it while knitting.  I may have to replace them.

I'm waiting on yarn, and needles, so what is a knitter to do?  Start a new project.  Well, two, in fact.  I had just gotten some Homespun yarn, and I'm making a nice, warm sweater for myself for next winter.  I also started a pair of socks for Jerusha.  The sweater will be too big of a project to take along, but the socks won't.  Oh, and remembering how my needle broke, I am using these plastic, very flexible DPN's that I bought in a knitting shop in Ithaca almost a year ago!  So far, I really like them.

I've been quilting too!  It is going along nicely.  Except... well, I don't know how, but the little tab on my Big Foot, the tab that rests on the screw to the shaft that hold the thingie on that houses the needle to the machine, broke!  I couldn't believe it!  Dale tried some Crazy Glue on it, so we'll see.  It feels pretty solid, but I have my doubts as to whether or not it will hold up under free motion quilting.  I remembered that when I ordered the Big Foot, I was sent two instead of one by accident, and when I called to let them know they told me to just keep it.  I'm glad I did!  It was like an unexpected two-for-one deal.

I've got several finished tops.  I really need to get busy with a LOT of quilting!

This is a throw for the back of our couch.  This is the top, just after I finished it.  I'm glad to say it is all quilting, and I've gotten the binding made, and now I just need to attach it.  Then we can have a good cuddle under it while watching a movie!

This is the completed top for the Mystery Quilt 2013 from  the Merry Mayhem website.  I love LOVE how this turned out.  Now I'm trying to decide how to quilt it.  I'm thinking maybe stitch in the ditch, as I want the design to pop, not the quilting.  Of course, all those geometrical squares and spaces just beg for some fancy quilting, but I'm still leaning towards stitch in the ditch.

This little snuggle quilt is barely lap sized, but it is made from leftover fabric from the couch throw.  I thought I would put it over the back of the rocking chair or recliner, both of which reside in the living room with the couch.  I did a double loop quilting on the main part, and now am deciding on how to quilt the borders.

Here is one of the DPN's I mentioned earlier.  Crazy, isn't it?  Maybe I can avoid breaking them!

In between equipment failure (maybe I am just rough on stuff???? ) I have been piecing the back to Isaac's quilt.  The top is finished, and I was just going to slap some fabric on for backing, but I can't resist the fun of piecing the back.  I have enough fabric left over from the front to make it very interesting, so Isaac's quilt is still in the throws of the creative process.

The temperatures here have been FRIGID.  Just the way I like it!  We've gotten a little bit of snow, and more to come.  Hopefully enough to make for some fun activities for Josiah, Esther, Elizabeth, and Benjamin, who are all attending a Winter Retreat Friday evening through Saturday afternoon.  They are planning on sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, etc.  They are definitely going to need a bit more snow for that!

Stay warm, and have a totally wicked afternoon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yarn Along

It has been a wicked long time since I participated in this, but here we go.  I don't even know if the original site is still doing it!  LOL  Anyway, what I'm reading and working on right now:

Have a Blessed day everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I've been a terrible blogger for the last.. what?  Several months?  Packing to move, getting moved, getting settled in, starting school, NaNoWriMo, Christmas, and now getting back into routine have all taken up my time.  In other words... living life!

We had a nice first Christmas in our new house.  This post is rather picture heavy, but stick with me!

Dale, Isaac and I went to a local restaurant/farm stand type place to get our Christmas tree.  In years past we have gotten a table top, Charlie Brown type tree.  This year, due to the high ceiling, we bought a 6 foot tree!  I was worried that we wouldn't have enough ornaments and lights, but we had just the right amount.  At the farm stand, there was this blow up snowman in a snow globe set up.  Isaac was quite thrilled with it!  He couldn't get enough of watching the fake snow blow around in it.

If any of you have ever seen my "decorating the tree" posts from previous years, you'll know that there was plenty of goofing off going on.  I'll spare the details on that.  

Well... I'll spare almost all the details.  *grin*

Before I put any presents under the tree Pumpkin claimed it as his new little hiding place.

On December 15th we hosted an Open House Christmas party at our house.  Elizabeth and I spent about a week and a half making party favors for the guests.  I came across these super easy, cute Christmas tree ornaments pattern on Ravelry.  They are like potato chips... you can't stop at just one!  (Although, after about 40 they do get a little old, I have to say.)

I also made 7 of these wall hangings.  One for each of Dale's and my siblings, and one to hang up here at the house.

For Isaac's birthday I made him a set of Curious George pj's.  No, I didn't finish his quilt in time.  In fact, it still isn't finished.  The top is almost completed though.  I've had a few other projects going on, but we'll get to that later.

Our church family surprised me the Sunday before my birthday by presenting me with a card, which everyone signed, and this corsage.  I was very touched!

Our "big" present for the kids was a new IdiotBox... aka... T.V.  Our old one was showing it's age.  It has had a very turbulent and rough life for the last 12 years.  So, Dale and I talked about it, and bought this flat screen deal.  Dale and Benjamin mounted it Christmas Eve.

My motley looking crew!

I had bought some material for new skirts for Esther back in October, and finally got around to putting them together over Christmas break.  They are a nice, soft Jersey knit, but look like denim.  This one is blue, and the other looks just like it, only black "denim".

Elizabeth has been bitten by the crafting bug!  She helped me knit all those party favors, and then us three gals started on these felted bags.  She was the first one done, so she got her pic taken.

After digging through my stash, she found this little kit for making a messenger bag.  Unfortunately, the directions were not with it, so she used the material and figured it out on her own.  She uses it to carry her books and knitting in whenever we go anywhere.

I've been knitting like crazy on Dale's sweater, and it is getting there. I blocked the pieces yesterday, and I will be working on sewing it all together.  Then I just have to add the collar and buttons.  I'll be glad when that is done!  Also, my felted bag needs to be sewn together, then I can felt it and put the strap on.  I have all manner of knitting projects to work on, to finish, so I'll delve into those after Dale's sweater and the felted bag is done.  The twins want to make cowls.  I have the pattern and yarn already for them.  We just have to get together and get started on it.  Elizabeth continues to be on a total knitting frenzy!  Since the Christmas Tree Ornament Marathon she has been working on what we lovingly call "The Beast".  This is an afghan I started many years ago when I first started to learn how to knit.  She works on it here and there.  It is made from Lion Brand Homespun.  We are going to transform it into a poncho when she is done.  She has also made a ruffle scarf with some ribbon yarn I gave her for Christmas, and has recently been making fingerless gloves.  She made herself a pair, Josiah a pair, and is now working on a pair for Benjamin, and plans to make some for a friend.

I've been working on my second book, which I started during NaNoWriMo.  I hadn't touched it since November 29th.  I finally started rereading what I wrote last week, and finished up over the weekend.  Monday I was able to start writing on it again!  Woohoo! It feels good to be back in the saddle!

Our busy schedule continues (big surprise there) but we have some fun stuff coming up too.  Tomorrow we are having a visit with our friends, the Grahams.  We try and get together about once a month.  We always enjoy our time with them, and consider it well spent.  On the 25th-26th, Josiah, Elizabeth, Esther and Benjamin are going to a "Winter Blast" retreat for 6th through 12th grades.    They are very excited about it!  I envy them.  I wish I was a teenager!  I even asked if they needed any more help, but they didn't.  They said the parents were welcome to stay too, but I think I will skip this time.  With Isaac, Jerusha, and Caleb way under the age limit, one of us would have to stay home anyway.  I might as well stay home too, and snuggle up in my own warm bed, and get up to a nice, leisurely cup of coffee.

We've had snow!  We've done lots of sledding, until last weekend when we had 50 degree weather and turned it all to mud.  Ick!  This morning, however, we woke up to cold temperatures and an inch or two of fresh covering.  Judging by the forecasted temperatures, it looks like it will stay around for a bit.  Goodie!

That is about it for now.  I hope you all are well, warm, and have a blessed evening!